HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) – Andrea Davis learned about the pitfalls of mobile technology the hard way when she gave her oldest child a smartphone. She says it was too much, too soon.

“When you hand over a smartphone to a child you’re really handing them the world and we weren’t prepared for that and we hadn’t prepared her,” Davis said.

The transition back to a basic phone was hard for her daughter, so the former teacher and her husband made some changes for their other four children.

“I couldn’t see us just picking an age and just saying ‘okay, when you’re 14 you get a phone.’  I thought, ‘we really need to have some way to measure their readiness.’ So we sat all of our kids down and we asked them two questions: we said ‘what does it mean to be responsible and what does it mean to be emotionally mature?'”

Those two questions have evolved into a self-evaluation Andrea offers through her consulting business Better Screen Time. Andrea says parents are relieved to have a way to start the conversation. Some clients have also used the guide to help their children develop life skills.

Andrea also says there are different types of screen time. Her family asks ‘am I creating, consuming or connecting?’ before reaching for their device. She and her husband have different guidelines for each. She says the greatest success comes when parents practice what they preach. She and her husband don’t allow devices in bedrooms and they leave their phones in family spaces too.

“That was a hard thing to commit to but I committed over 4 years ago and I have stuck with it. You find as your kids get older that your kids really do want fairness and they can sense hypocrisy from a mile away. So if as a family we really want to see those changes and want to stay connected, we as parents have to be committed to that as well.”

Andrea says communication is key to building trust. The one thing she hopes parents will do is to take this process slowly. Families can find more tools and resources on her website. She also has a discussion book called “Creating a Tech Healthy Family” available on Amazon.